Cork conviction for Gas Tampering

Unlawful interference of gas supply puts lives at risk

Gas Networks Ireland has welcomed the verdict in a case relating to unlawful interference with a gas supply at an address in Orchard Court, Blackpool, Cork.    

On Wednesday 27 September 2023, Mr Leustean Rostas pleaded guilty and was convicted at Cork District Court under Section 15 of the Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1995 on charges of unlawful interference with a gas supply and dishonest use of gas.  

The court heard that Gas Networks Ireland had carried out an investigation at the property in March 2023 and found the gas supply had been unlawfully tampered with. A lock had been illegally removed from the installation allowing for the dishonest use of gas. 

Judge Carroll, having heard the evidence from Gas Networks Ireland, noted the seriousness of the matter and that the defendant was putting other lives at risk by his illegal actions. Mr Rostas was convicted under section 15(2) and 15(3) of the Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1995 as amended by Section 5 of the Energy (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2012. A two-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months was handed down by Judge Carroll.   

Gas Networks Ireland’s Networks Safety Manager, Owen Wilson, said: 

“This verdict sends out an important message to the public that meter tampering is a serious crime with potentially deadly consequences.  Theft of gas is a very serious issue, but far more serious is the risk to life that meter tampering poses to the perpetrator and to people nearby.  

“We are working to end unlawful interference with gas meters and the dangers associated with this activity.” 

Due to the dangers involved, gas meter tampering is a criminal offence with possible fines of up to €5,000 and prison sentences of up to six months for those found guilty of the crime.   

Gas Networks Ireland has been actively engaged in identifying and making safe installations where tampering has been found and has detected over 2,900 cases of meter tampering across the country since 2013. 

By law, only Gas Networks Ireland representatives and registered gas installers are authorised to work on natural gas meters and pipework.  It is illegal to ask, pay or allow someone else to tamper with a gas meter. 

“Rogue contractors can make seemingly attractive offers, but the dangers involved in allowing someone who is not registered and qualified to do the work, are very real,” Mr Wilson said. 

“Anyone who either interferes with a gas meter themselves or agrees to allow someone who is not a registered gas installer to work on their gas installations is risking their own life, those of their family, and of people living nearby.” 

Members of the public are asked to report any suspicions of gas meter tampering to Gas Networks Ireland in strict confidence by calling 1800 464 464.   

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